Cottage Update: Kitchen 90% Done

Ugggg.  I pulled my back out this weekend.  I think the universe is trying to tell me I’m taking on too much.  In preparation for my first house guests next weekend, I’ve been furtively trying to finish up the One Room Challenge early AND pull together the entire house.  Too many rooms, too little time, money and physical strength.  It ain’t gonna get done.

The idea of entertaining without things being perfect kinda tweaks me out.  It’s hard sharing a design mid-process, whether it be on the blog, or in person.  I’m fully aware that it’s my own expectations that are too high and my friends will not judge me so harshly.   Ultimately, come Friday, I’ll let out a big sigh, pour a glass of wine and relax with my besties.  But until then, its obsess, work, and spend my evenings making magic happen.

The good news is the kitchen is functional and 90% complete.  My old cabinets are painted and in place, my island is assembled, my countertops are down and tools and food are put away.   The dishwasher is broken, (thanks a lot, previous owners,) but at least the sink is working.  I still have some finishing touches to do: lighting,  hardware, stools, shelf styling,and the whole back wall.  Overall though, it’s looking good and functioning well.

 kitchen- blue cabinets- open shelves- microwave on refrigerator

I did this kitchen on an extreme budget.  The cabinetry, appliances, sink and faucet were re-used from the original kitchen.  I hope to be able to upgrade in a few years, but at least I don’t have to live with ugly in the meanwhile.  Isn’t it impressive what a coat of turquoise paint can do 80’s laminate cabinet doors?  The paint is Benjamin Moore Deep Ocean.   

kitchen before

Need I remind you what this wall used to look like?

PS- all you need is a good primer.  Ask your paint specialist.

I did a mixture of open shelves and closed cabinetry on the sink wall.  I have a great collection of glassware- mostly from my Nana- and I wanted to enjoy seeing it.


The shelf brackets are Ikea, sprayed gold.  Still need to fill the screws.

The shelf below my wall cabinet is my mug shelf.  I plan to only stock it with blue and white mugs.  More on that soon.

For countertops, I did the cheapest thing possible; White Laminate.   I like that its clean and simple- it’s not the focal point in this kitchen.  Obviously laminate is not great function-wise.  I can’t put down hot stuff and its not good to let water sit on laminate counters.  Eventually I’d love to have quartzite counters, but for now, it’ll do.

The microwave looks a little lonely hanging out above the refrigerator.  It was the best place for it as I definitely didn’t want it on the counter or above the stove,  Still, I think I may need to add a shelf above it or utilize the height some how.  Also, the dish strainer… the bane of the kitchen.  Hoping to come up with something more chic, but at least it functions.

kitchen- black island- blue cabinets- open shelves

While my perimeter cabinets are blue, I decided to paint the island black.  I think it helps the kitchen feel more classic and not too saturated or juvenile.   The cabinet and the wood top are stock Ikea pieces.  The feet are supposed to be stainless, but I spray painted them gold.  The hardware will be brass.  No stools yet, so I’ll share them on the next update.

kitchen-black island

I love this island!  This is where I do the majority of my prep work.  It has great storage.  The wood top sucks though.  It needs about two more coats of polyurethane.

kitchen-tribal rug

 From day 1 I knew I wanted my favorite pink and blue tribal rug (a vintage find at a local thrift store) in the kitchen.

Here’s my new range wall.  I re-used all of my appliances but I did buy a new hood from Ikea.  I love a black hood.  Stainless was never an option for me.  I don’t mind it for a range or even a refrigerator, but for the hood I wanted some clean and classic that didn’t compete with my brass and gold accents.  Black is forever.  Plus it goes with my island.

kitchen-black range hood- black island- tribal rug- blue cabinets

Did you notice there is no backsplash tile, just drywall.? Of course I’d love subway tile here, but it doesn’t make sense right now.  Since this is a cheapo-temporary kitchen, we didn’t want to put it up and then rip it down in two years…and take all the new drywall down with it!

The DM team hung shelves in the deep window well.  I haven’t organized this area yet.  I think it will be a mix of snack in glass canisters, cookbooks, and a few plants. I love that everything here will be in easy reach, but won’t junk up the counter.

kitchen-shelves in window


I have something special planned for the back wall, but right now its naked.  I’m also saving my pennies to replace this door with a 15-lite glass door.  This is the south side of the house and it gets great light.  I want to brighten up the first floor and enjoy the view of my little back yard.

kitchen wide shot in progress

And that is the kitchen, so far.

I’m planning a post on storage  and function soon.

 What do you guys think?

See the floor plan HERE.

And full before shots HERE.


Hood / Island / Wood Countertop / Cabinet Color (Blue)

  1. Alice

    Very nice kitchen! I have the same old laminate cabinets in my kitchen and need to make them over. So lucky to find your blog. Besides the good primer, what prep work did you have to do to the cabinet doors to refinish them so beautifully? Has there been any peeling or chipping of the paint so far? Does the paint stand up to cleaning?

  2. Josy

    Hi Naomi,

    Lovely kitchen! Question(s):

    I’ve been thinking of putting shelves across my kitchen window, and love the way that looks, but I’ve worried about being able to open and close the window. Do you use that window? Now that you’ve had the shelves for a while, do you find them comfortable?

    Also, what is the brand and color name of the gold paint that you used? It looks great–really dresses up the room.


    • Naomi

      Hi Josy,

      I can open the window but I do not do it very often. The shelves are nice for display items and plants. I wouldn’t use them for everyday items as they are a little far to reach. Montana Gold makes the best spray paint, but really I think any would do.

  3. Debby

    I did away with the dish drainer and now put those items in the top shelf of the dishwasher to drip and dry.

    • Naomi

      Good idea!

  4. Ava

    I love your kitchen! This looks amazing! I have those same cabinets in my rental and I think my landlord would let us paint but I was wondering if you have any good tips or tricks to use? I have never really attempted to paint anything laminate before and have been thinking about doing this but was too nervous.


  5. Maria

    I love what you did with the Ikea shelves. Did you just use a basic gold spray paint? Home Depot? I did almost the exact “Lipstick” job on my kitchen from the same shelves (i did stainless) to the laminate and butcher block~ but you were so much more colorful and creative! I’m inspired to make some minor adjustments. Love it.

  6. Hi.. what a great post with amazing pictures of fully modernize kitchen. I really appreciate your creative idea of the fully functional kitchen design. Thanks, Keep sharing.

  7. Jessica

    Cabinets look amazing! I have the exact same 80’s cabinets in my kitchen. I have renovated the entire house, with exception to those gaudy cabinets which still stand. Any way you can post your exact detailed method of how-to paint them, as it’s obviously tried and true and turned out amazing. With your help, I am confident I can tackle this project, and make my 90% house, 100%. THANKS! 🙂

  8. Peanutflower

    But the kitchen looks great, I should have said that. I came across your side looking for ideas on painting ugly 80s laminate cabinets that are rough shape. Always been afraid to tackle painting them in case the paint didn’t stick, but I guess it does. Love your colour ideas.

  9. Peanutflower

    NO!!! no polyurethane on the butcher block!! That’s a big no no. You should be using plain old mineral oil applied with a towel. Just do it over and over and let it soak in and the butcher block will be good for decades. A butcher block top like that is supposed to be used in its natural state. I have exactly the same thing from Ikea and I’ve had it for years — I cut food on it (except meat), chop veg, you name it. Every once in a while hubby gives it a good scrap with a special butcher’s scraper (butcher block, get it?) and it’s good as new.

    • Naomi

      I don’t do food prep on my counters. I put an additional chopping block down. Personally I’m very happy with how the poly has held up. No water rings from glasses, I can put semi-hot plates down without messing up the wood. The mineral oil approach seems to be popular as well.

  10. Tiny Homestead

    I love that you went for a bold color! So much more impact than sticking to something safe. I’m planning a budget reno to my kitchen and was going to use those same IKEA brackets- also sprayed a brass tone! I love getting to see how it worked for you (very well) and am even more excited to get going with my kitchen. Any tips on what gold paint you chose?

  11. Amber

    i don’t know how i missed this post. your kitchen looks amazing! i love the color choices and that awesome rug! your glassware is beautiful. the black is classic. nice job!

  12. What an amazing kitchen, despite the tight budget. I think it looks so chic! Those darn microwaves, hard to live without, but where to put them? I am sure you will figure out a stylish solution, you always do!

  13. Love it! I have never seen shelves in a window before, but I’m now a big fan! You did an awesome job on a tight budget. Too bad you don’t live near me to help me with my house, haha!

  14. Your kitchen looks ah-mazing! And I love that you painted the brackets gold, such a fun little detail that pairs so well with your glassware!

  15. Tiffany

    Great updates on a tight budget!!! i would have never thought of adding shelves in the window…pretty brilliant Naomi!

  16. Nikki W

    That is blue is insane. genius. So bold and fun. And I had no clue you could paint those horrible laminate cabinets! Do they need to be sanded or just primed? Great job on a tight budget

  17. ha, I just noticed the comment above mine pretty much used the same adjectives.

  18. Decor on a budget, that’s my m-o. It’s clean, fun, and sophisticated. You’re so right about the black. Black makes everything feel mature and love the way the hood and the island feel balanced. And the hints of brass, well, those are just extra eye candy. 🙂

  19. It’s fresh, it’s fun and it’s sophisticated. It will all come together in due time, it’s the moments and memories you create in those rooms that are most important in life.

  20. i love what you have accomplished so far. you have taken a dreary 80s space and really freshened it up. have you thought about painting a stencil for the backsplash? there are beautiful patterns that mimic the look of tile and you won’t damage your walls. i recently published a post on stencils ( and am looking forward to using some of them in my daughter’s room. thank you for inspiring us all! anna

    • Naomi

      Anna, a stencil would be a fabulous idea. I may try it at some point. Right now I just have a few rooms I need to tackle first!

  21. Becky

    Why not just use the dishwasher as your dish drainer? Any way you could hide that microwave in a cabinet? Looks great otherwise. Love that island an the rug.

  22. Ann

    Thank you for sharing your interim kitchen. While it isn’t your dream, it is, nonetheless, nearly a Cinderella transformation. I lived for a long time in an 850 square foot condo, and learned a thing or two about making the most of small spaces, and have two ideas that might assist you. (1) I got rid of my dishwasher, and replaced it with a pull-out cabinet with two trash cans, one for trash and the other for recycle, and a space for storing paper bags or trays beside it. I ordered a compatible door online. My reasoning was that one person doesn’t need a dishwasher, which isn’t good for the crystal, china and silverware anyway, and cannot adequately wash pots and pans. I don’t mind doing my dishes by hand. This leads me to (2) The dish drainer: I have two ideas: (a) If you are going to keep your broken dishwasher, why not use the basket inside as your dish drainer until you get it fixed?, and (b) I keep mine in the sink. Although you have a single sink, you could get a small drainer and place it on one side of your sink, and wash dishes on the other. That way, you don’t have the unsightly, utilitarian object on your tiny counter top, and it will protect your sink from scratches. I look forward to many more great blog posts as your cottage becomes all that it can be.

    • Naomi

      Hi Ann,

      Great ideas. I DO want the dishwasher and hope to get a new one in a few months. Until then I think I will use is as the strainer!
      As for the trash- I actually converted a cabinet on the other side into just what you described. Planning a post on all the storage details soon.

  23. I love that fresh blue paint on the cabinets. Your island looks so good with the gold on the legs. I is company ready in my book. A

  24. Emily P

    Say no to a dish rack altogether! I have a dishwasher too and use it to dry my dishes when I don’t have enough to start loading up the actually dishwasher. It takes some time to work out a system, but is pretty manageable for a single person because you always know if what’s in the dishwasher is cloean or dirty.

  25. Emily C

    what a transformation! shelves in the window…brilliant.

    your headboard tease on insta is killing me! can’t wait to see finished! and details. curious how thick the foam is, and if you outsourced cutting the shape, etc.

  26. I love the bold choices of colour.It’s coming alomg splendidly.Take it easy now!!You don’t want bad back pain!!

  27. patty blaettler

    Great work! I put a door w/ all windows in the kitchen and it changed it entirely (for the better)!

  28. brigitte bernard

    your kitchen is beautiful, and you are so good with a tiny budget i love everything
    good job

  29. Matty

    I have been excited to see the big reveal – very inspiring!

    What is the source for the bar stools you feature in original floor plan post? Any feedback on how these are working out – are they comfortable? I am in the market for bar stools for our new kitchen.

    • Naomi

      The original bar stools are by Arteriors Home. Google “wyndham brown wood stool” I ended up going a different route mostly for budget reasons, but also, I felt I had enough wood. Will talk about that soon.

  30. it’s looking SO. GOOD. you are one smart cookie to save the pennies and go all out later.

    i so wish we had a deep window well for herbs and such. jeals.

  31. Love it! I really love the black island, it makes such a great statement while perfectly going with the rest! And I also love all the gold details!

  32. I love it! Looks great already and you’re not even done! I never would have thought of the black hood, but you’re right that it looks classic AND modern and really ties in the island. How badly do I want you to come rip out parts of my tiny kitchen now? SO BAD.

  33. Cathy

    Good for you, this kitchen looks so up to date and that it was done on an extreme budget is the icing on the cake. Love the color choices and the simple update to the Ikea products, can’t wait to see what is in store for the back wall!

  34. Kristen

    Ok it looks soooo good. I’m seriously obsessed with gold spray paint and you just made it worse with those shelves. LOVE them.

  35. Kate

    Love it! The blue cabinets are awesome. Where are the shelves in the window from?

    • Naomi

      thanks Kate! I got lazy and got them from Ikea, but they easily could have been made from plywood as well.

  36. Looks SO good for just ‘putting lipstick on a pig’… my dear are the queen of budget reno!

  37. I think it looks amazing!! You need to pat yourself on that soar back because you have done/are doing a fab job! Can’t wait to see more!!

  38. Ashley

    Stop being so hard on yourself–you have accomplished so much. I mean, there’s no way I’d believe it was the same kitchen if you hadn’t said so.

    Looking forward to seeing the kitchen in all its glory this weekend!

    • Naomi

      Me too, Ashley! Can’t wait to see you 🙂

  39. If only my mid-progress looked so good. I love the clever mix of open and closed, and the repurposed 80s cabinets are genius.

    Regarding your drainboard woes, we started using a pair of 15″ wide bar mats (I think they’re available at Target) for draining dishes. They’re flat, and flexible, can store in a drawer or under the sink, and force you to put your dishes away quickly. Plus, larger items (pots, pans) can easily lay flat on them. We have a similar amount of storage/counterspace at our rental apartment and the flat mats have been a lifesaver. We just wipe up the counter after drying the dishes with towels, and lose nothing in storage because of it.

    Anyway, the place looks incredible. Relax, enjoy the sunshine and burgeoning spring weather, and enjoy your hard work thus far. Looks so inviting, efficient, and lovely!

    • Naomi

      Thanks, Kati! I need to try those. Are they super absorbent? I think I had one in the past but it was ugly.

      • They have a little tray-like ridged bottom that you can then just pour into the sink and hang on the inside of the sink base door/cabinet. The ones we have are a charcoal grey, so not exactly pretty, but not exactly important enough to matter (to us). Our other tried and true is a kitchen towel just laid onto the countertop. Then you can have pretty + practical.

  40. Holy amazingness. I’m obsessed with the blue…and the brass on the island feet…and the open shelves (planning that same IKEA gold hack in my laundry nook)…and the black hood. It’s all so totally unexpected and so infinitely gorgeous. VERY inspiring my dear.

  41. megan

    I can testify that this kitchen is even better in person, it has great flow, amazing use of space, and sparkling color. No one but Naomi and team DM could have made this out of the Before kitchen!

  42. Gorgeous!! I love the blue and black mix, so unexpected! And the gold painted ikea shelves…

    You’re keeping the standards really high! Great job, as usual!

  43. I think you’re a dirty liar and that is not the same kitchen…

    I kid.

    It looks AMAZING. I love all the special details and the black + brass really make the blue sing.

    • Naomi

      Haha- well it’s not the same kitchen. New ceiling, walls, and floors. But those stupid cabinets are indeed the same. They just have some nice make up on.

  44. It looks REALLY great Naomi!! I love that you did this by re-purposing so much! It really gives me the confidence to keep at my own kitchen

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